With its location along the U.S./Mexico border, and with just 11 miles between downtown McAllen and the Mexican border, the RGV is home to many individuals who cross the border on a regular basis. While driving between the two countries may be relatively easy, as long as you have the right paperwork, insuring your vehicle for these crossings can be a little more complex. Make sure you have the right car insurance for South Texas with this guide to commuting across borders.
You must purchase separate policies for Mexico and the U.S.
The first thing to understand about cross-border car insurance is that your U.S. policy will NOT apply in Mexico. Even if you buy a policy that promises limited coverage internationally, chances are that coverage will not meet Mexico’s minimum liability insurance requirements.
When driving from Mexico to the United States, the same holds true: Your Mexican car insurance policy will not apply to your vehicle once you enter the United States. If you regularly travel between the two countries, you will need to purchase separate policies for each country in order to protect yourself against any incidents that occur in either nation.
Stay compliant with Mexico’s car insurance policies
Whether you are a tourist taking a day trip or an employee engaging in a daily commute, anytime you drive over the U.S./Mexico border, you must comply with Mexico’s insurance requirements.
The nation has a very strict requirement that all drivers in the country have a minimum of third party liability insurance. In general, you will need to hold at least $300,000 in third party liability insurance to help pay for damages and/or injuries you cause in an accident in Mexico.
Consider going beyond Mexico’s minimum requirements
Your car insurance in South Texas should always meet Mexico’s minimum third party liability insurance requirements if you plan to take your vehicle over the border. However, you may want to purchase a policy that offers coverage beyond the bare minimum.
For example, just as you do in the United States, you may wish to add collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and personal injury protection. Here is a brief look at the benefits each of these coverage’s provide:
Coverage for damage caused to your vehicle in an accident.
Coverage for damage not caused by an accident, including theft, vandalism, natural disaster damage and more.
Personal Injury Protection
Also known as PIP, this coverage is for medical expenses and lost wages for you and/or your passengers incurred due to an accident.
Choose a policy based on your time in the country
While purchasing a Mexico-specific policy for your vehicle insurance is required anytime you cross the border, the good news is that you have lots of options for the type of policy you buy.
For example, tourists who are only spending a short amount of time in Mexico can buy a temporary policy for a specific amount of time, such as for a week or for a month. You may also only need third party liability insurance for short stays.
If you commute regularly across the border, or spend significant periods of time in Mexico, however, you may want a more permanent policy. You may also want to purchase extended policies that include coverage such as collision, comprehensive or personal injury protection.
Work with an insurance agent to customize your policy in the RGV and McAllen
When purchasing South Texas car insurance, you want to avoid cookie cutter or pre-packaged policies, particularly if you plan to commute across the border to Mexico. There are many factors that can affect the types of policies you choose and the rates you pay. As a result, you should make sure your policy takes into account your specific situation and needs. Here are some of the factors that can influence the policy you choose and the rates you pay:
- Age of your vehicle (e.g. Older vehicles may not need or even be able to get anything beyond a basic third party liability policy)
- Time spent in Mexico
- Your age (The younger you are, the more expensive your policy may be)
- Your destination within Mexico
- Your driving record
- The make, model and year of your car
- Whether or not you are towing anything
If you are planning to drive over the border into Mexico, it would be wise to consult with an experienced insurance agent who can work with you to get a specialized policy that will protect you in Mexico. Our SafeGuard Insurance Agency staff are always ready to help you find coverage that fits with your needs and your budget. Contact us anytime you need a quote or guidance on the right car insurance to buy, in the United States or in Mexico. We are here to help.